Skip to main content

tv   Washington Journal  CSPAN  May 24, 2011 7:00am-10:00am EDT

7:00 am
senator ron wyden, an oregon democrat and member of the budget committee and seth stern will take your questions about congressional debate on extending some of the expiring provisions of the anti-terrorism law known as the patriot act. "washington journal" is next. ♪ host: the supreme court in a 5-4 decision monday said that conditions and california's prison system are so bad that they constitute a cruel and unusual punishment they ordered the state to reduce the prison population by more than 30,000 in may. justice scalia's defense says that it is the most radical in junction in our nation's history. we would get your take on a
7:01 am
course decision this morning. you can start dialing in now. democrats, republicans, and independents. we want to get your thoughts this morning. we begin with of of los angeles times" front-page story. the supreme court called a crowded prisons in humane and governor brown plans for county jail transfers. it would cost hundreds of
7:02 am
millions of dollars to be paid for by tax hikes. that is the "los angeles times." the "washington -- wall street journal" has this. the state system was designed for 80,000 inmates but holds nearly twice that many. the decision comes 21 years after suit was filed on behalf of an inmate alleging that treatment provided was so poor as to violate the eighth amendment prohibition of cruel
7:03 am
and unusual punishment. . that is the "wall street journal." the story on the front page of the "new york times" as well.
7:04 am
david is a democrat talking about this. what do you think about the supreme court decision? are you with us? caller: yes, when i turned on c- span, i woke up and i saw the story, it reminded me about five years ago, the california legislature -- i forget when it won -- which one it was, they put in a bill to avoid having to increase college tuition which is gone up astronomically. we could have avoided that increase if we would it freed the inmates that were not violent. the only reason they were white -- that they were in prison was a parole violation. there are a lot of people that end up in prison just because of marijuana. if we free those guys, we do not have to increase the college tuition fees. but it did not make it. i am thinking that this will
7:05 am
compelled -- because it is industry and california has the highest prison these, i think we're no. 43 on spending in education per student, and yet we're number one on spending for prisons. hopefully something like that will come or weakened freeze on non-violent prisoners who are only there for marijuana charges are something like that. host: justice scalia argued that this is a public safety issue and a year for california citizens if something bad would happen. what do you make of that? caller: something bad were to happen because of -- host: if some are set free. caller: for example, i forget the technical term but i used it teach college in the kids call it a quarter-way. if you are on a four-way parole
7:06 am
violation, you did not have to know a guy. by association, if that guy had marijuana and you are sitting at the same park bench, you are considered an associate and you could go back to prison on a parole violation. there are many that are non- filing that would not hurt anybody. i think personally, someone that only has the disease of addiction, we should find a way to get them help. we could put them in a lower security facility where they are getting help, three square meals and real help, and it would not try to escape or anything like violent criminals would. we can save money by having a different kind of facility for the non-violent guy. and we could avoid these types of problems. host: we're looking at those of from the associated press, the situation of the presence in the california. three of those photos were incurred -- were included in
7:07 am
justice kennedy's opinion. if you are interested in reading it, and you can go to the supreme court website and we will have it posted on our website, 3 but as, an unusual addition for the justice to include. let me read from the wall street journal. this is a story they are saying it might have implications for other states as well. prison overcrowding is widespread across the country. alabama, but for now, delaware, illinois and north carolina were among states reporting inmate populations significantly above their intended capacity. broader implications were clear. the state takes on the responsibility to feed and care for criminals.
7:08 am
good morning. caller: how are you today? host: just fine, what you think about this? caller: i am a firm believer that a lot of people get locked up for non-important offenses. there may be an easy way to put it back up that people get locked up for such petty things went there are many other people that should be locked up for more serious offenses. they should release a lot of those inmates that are locked up for the petty things. host: there is one of the pho tos included in justice kennedy 's opinion. it is in black and white and the faces of the inmates are blocked out. here is another one in justice
7:09 am
kennedy's opinion. we will go to mary louise, a democrat in nevada. caller: i like to see us go the way that portugal has gone. they have made all drugs legal and in the process of making all drugs legal, their crime rate went -- their crime recidivism. way down. if we made all drugs legal, including heroin, and you released anybody who was in prison on drug-related charges, again, they could not do the business that they used to do of taking drugs and selling drugs and so on and so forth. that would be one thing. secondly, i would like to say that i find it interesting that if an individual for their own hand hurts or kills another person, they do go to prison.
7:10 am
that is one individual killing one individual. however, we have people with a stroke of a pan that have made people, thousands of people, hundreds of thousands of people, homeless and starving in our country. and yet nothing is being done about them. i would really like to see the justice department's take wall street, who i am talking about specifically with this pen, and what they have just done, put them in jail. because they deserve to be in jail. host: of the third photo included, here it is, cages, they were used in the california prison system to hold mentally ill prisoners. we will go to california, a republican in los angeles. what do you think? caller: i think that a lot of
7:11 am
the prisons, a lot of the prisoners should be released because they are in prison on minor charges such as drugs. mostly drugs. i do not think that we should be paying to have nobody would like for smoking a marijuana cigarette. -- no one with life for smoking a marijuana cigarette. the front page of the "washington post," quoting justice kennedy saying that it is unbelievable -- and unrealistic to believe that the nation's largest take an "build itself out of this crisis."
7:12 am
perhaps mindful of the public reaction to one of the largest prison reduction orders and the nation's history, he listed various way for state officials to reduce the population. without releasing dangerous criminals including prisons out of state. he underscored that that that the prison system's problems by taking the rare step of including that is and opinions are showing the overcrowding positions. we will gutted an, an independent in jackson, mississippi.
7:13 am
-- we will go to dan. caller: this is not taking into account the working class families that these people will be released back into. their stuff going on in our cities. here in mississippi, our newspaper is full of our federal prisons adding disturbances as california gain prisoners are shipped out here because of overcrowding in the federal system. we are bombarded with sex because they're not botchi ball courts, taking away electrical guitars from them, so that as a lawsuit. these are things that american citizens are not ordinarily given by the government. i really do not see where the
7:14 am
cruel and unusual comes into it. at some point coming to have to realistic say how much are we going to tax people and who is going to run our neighborhoods, the police are the gangs? that is my comment on that. i am wondering what the balance here is. did they intend for the judges to rule on spanish tv channels or their right to watch itv? host: do you know the story on how and why mississippi has accepted prisoners from california? is it just the federal system? caller: it is the federal system. they send them where they have space available. our crime rate has gone down because of enforcement. california's has climbed through the ceiling. by now our federal prison, if you go out there you can see
7:15 am
that happen of our population coming in right now is either from texas or california. spending theirt time writing. the regular inmate population is trying to program encoded classicist up. they will not because their gains. realistically, that is what fuelling the overcrowding. if they want talk about cruel and unusual, what about a minority child, hispanic or black, who grows up and passed it go past drug dealers every day to go to school? host: this is the "new york times calls " editorial on the situation.
7:16 am
say minneapolis, richard is a republican. go ahead. caller: i wonder if the article says anything about three strikes and you're out law. that is probably a cruel and unusual punishment right there. i think they should set a limit on the dollar amounts if they stole something worth over $1,000, maybe, they could be
7:17 am
considered a polymer something. but something under that dollar amount, maybe they should just be put on probation. we are jailing people into oblivion, and it is a great big industry. i think it should be stopped. host: georgia, patricia, the democratic line. caller: good morning. i totally support the supreme court's decision. overcrowding is not the only abuses in our prisons. also, the prisons are not the only places, the county jails are so corrupt and the abuses
7:18 am
going on there in my county here in georgia, four inmates in a cell that is made for two inmates. 8 feet by 10 feet cells, not even walking space. from randy hear calling on the democratic line, a retired corrections officer. caller: i had agreed with the supreme court decision. those are good pictures compared to the working condition i were dead. but as i worked at. that three strikes law is the main reason we are in this situation $30,000 a year per prisoner? we cannot afford it. if that is my opinion. host: what about not letting
7:19 am
them go free, but allowing them to go to local jail facilities, etc.? caller: lost -- los angeles county, orange county, they are just as bad. the main thing is that three strikes rule. you get guys that it picked up for stealing a bag of chips. they are angry, they are ready to hurt somebody. it is a ridiculous idea. i disagree with that, period. host: here is the "wall street journal" opinion. there decreeing how the political branches of government must be run.
7:20 am
we will gutted john in california, san diego, a republican. caller: up to 40% of the inmate population are illegal aliens. as long as the border is unsecured, we will have a nonstop flow of potential inmates. why don't we let them all gone and ship them back to the run country? host: portland, ore., karen,
7:21 am
what is your comment? caller: i am a native of california. i left there in 1995, disgusted then-governor wilson's policies regarding three strikes. the terrible direction that we took 20 years ago with reducing funding for education and spending more on prisons. i have been right thing to my nephew who is in prison, who is not a violent person, he was addicted to drugs. he cannot get a job. he made a mistake, committed a crime, and non-filing crime, was supposed to go to drug treatment which california as a policy of deterring people and his court hearing was a total sham. even the appellate lawyer was totally hooked into the system. because he had committed crimes
7:22 am
in the past, he is considered basically no good for life. irredeemable. even though he was abiding by drug treatment roles, he was not on parole or probation, but yet that appeal was systematically this night for some irrelevant reason, saying that he had violated probation when he was not on probation. so there is no justice for many, many, many people in california. in all of us are victims of this policy. money for imprisonment as an industry, it is just a complete outrage and embarrassment. it should be sent up to the united nations. host: a lot of early risers in california. bakersfield. caller: one of the problems with the release order that i see is that there is no way that normal
7:23 am
people can handle the influx of the bad guys. or perhaps the rehabilitated guys. when a person goes into the system, he or she comes out socially altered. you have to change her ways to survive in there. you do not in up being a nice person as a result of the incarceration. with all of that changing your behavior and how blood, you not fit into the america that you and i know. it is very difficult for us to sit back and watch the supreme court and eight changes that yes, we would have made 10 years ago if we had the money. we do not want to be cruel. we do not like that three tier beds any better than they do, but unless the supreme court can write as a check for enough billions of dollars to create
7:24 am
halfway houses for these people, over how to build them at an island somewhere, i think no good result is feasible. host: let me give you a rundown of other headlines today. the patriot act provisions that are going to be extended, it looks like. the senate voted yesterday, 74- 8, to go ahead with legislation that would extend three of those provisions. the editorial in the "wall street journal" is that years of big brother have rightly vanished on that legislation. we will talk about that on this program, and what those provisions would do. and then also many of you know and are familiar with the story, the tornadoes that are sweeping across the country. here is an image from the "new york post." also another photo from "the new
7:25 am
york post." the tragic toll certain amount as rescuers combed through the ruins. "usa today" says that this is the eighth deadliest year so far for tornadic is in u.s. history. other headlines for you. palestinian statehood vote. it talks about the prime minister's speech that he will be given to a joint session of congress at 11:00 a.m. on c- span. you can keep it here, 11 a.m. to listen to the speech. he also covered the aipac prime minister the yesterday. good to our website,, if you want to listen to that speech. "financial times," a bipartisan group of senators including john mccain, john kerry, joe
7:26 am
lieberman, and dianne feinstein introduced a resolution yesterday that would endorse using some of the more $36 billion of frozen libyan funds to help the opposition in the country in line with the request of about $180 million. it is something that the white house has asked for and it has been endorsed by that group of senators. back to our question, getting your thoughts this morning about the supreme court decision telling california it must cut its prison population. a democrat in oklahoma, is that right? the wellhead. caller: most everybody will think i am completely from outer space, but we ought to find some kind of way of a large island at out into the middle of the pacific, may get a territory, but all the hardened criminals out there with the proper tools
7:27 am
and techniques and things, and let them build their own town. it would be rough on them at first, but what the pioneers do when they came over? they had the build their homes, they had to make their fields, they had to grow their food. we get harelip cattle, horses, all kinds of goodies in. i think it would make them better people. host: a republican in roanoke, virginia. caller: we incarcerate more people than anyone in the world. tells us supposedly built for violent offenders. people that smoke like merrill and the -- smoked marijuana, they are not violent. host: and independent in el
7:28 am
paso, texas. caller: i was one in the state, i agree with a lot callers. the system is broke for the most part. non-violent offenders to go when, they come out highly educated and other crimes. that is another bad thing. it is just an industry. all i can say is that if they could educate people on the dangers of addiction, but sticking them in prison, it is a no-win situation. it is a bigger burden on ourselves. if we could cut down the rate or legalize certain drugs, that is how will get taken off of our budget. drugs may be bad, but as far as the good of the country, we are digging ourselves into a deeper hole with all the debt we are
7:29 am
creating. host: anthony, a republican in mississippi. caller: i like to say one thing. a lot of people forget that the united states financed two wars helping to sell drugs, and now they want to take the people they got hooked on them and put them in jail and jail them for most of their lives. i think that is the most idiotic thing that they could ever do. i think they ought to have a system where if you're not a violent offender, you do have another chance in life. i mean, you get these pictures and people, that's all fine and good. but look at some of the people in these jails. they throw them away. it is impossible to keep the
7:30 am
prisons going and keep everything required to house these people. they are not doing nothing. host: on the timeline that act on this decision, even of the three-judge panel that looked at this before the supreme court took it up said that should be accomplished within two years, justice kennedy said the state may petition for five years to accomplish that task. justice scalia called that abuzz are coded to the decision. -- a bizarre coda to the decision.
7:31 am
we want to show you president obama are arriving at buckingham palace. this is the official welcome ceremony hosted by queen elizabeth, occupancy her standing there next to president obama. we can listen in for a few moments. ["star spangled banner" playing ] ♪
7:32 am
♪ host: president obama's or rifle at buckingham palace, part of this week-long trip to europe. he visit westminster abbey and then will meet with the prime minister, david cameron. also the opposition leader, ed miller band. and then a state dinner at buckingham palace. the president is travelling throughout europe this week. he will be in england tuesday and wednesday and then travel on to france for the g-8 summit on thursday, and in friday he will be in poland.
7:33 am
live coverage of his arrival at buckingham palace here on c- span. this morning we are talking about the supreme court decision to say to california at you must cut your prison crowding. we will go to a democrat in of vermont. cokehead, ryan. -- go ahead, ryan. caller: i believe the legalization of marijuana is probably a good thing that what happened in this country. if we had legalized did and we tax that it normal tax rate, it would bring in $2.4 billion. >> we go on to victorville california. caller: i want to make that quick comment. you can be a person that is law-
7:34 am
abiding, and before you know it, here in california, you can get a teenage daughter or son that will may some innuendoes, if you are applying yourself, and you are locked up faster than your head can spend. the state will lock you up so fast, that before you know it, that same kid is asking you, dad, give me a card, or you want to raise my kid? the same place they lock you up, the top has lost their mind, there's a perfect case against you and you are saying what in the world have you folks all lost your mind? that is california. host: a reporter with talking about notion -- budget negotiation. joe biden is meeting with a bipartisan group of both the house and senate trying to come to some sort of deal on what? guest: there will meet again today as they have for the last
7:35 am
few weeks to try to lay down some kind of foundation and framework for a legislative agreement on deficit reduction. host: when was the last time that they met? guest: they met before the break last week. i believe it was just over a week ago. they are really the only game in town now, since the gang of six has come to an impasse, it appears, with senator coburn taking a break from those negotiations. they are really looking at this group with biden as the vehicle and venue for any deal that would come about. host: when did they have to come up with the deal in order for congress to act on it? and what did they think the vehicle will be for? guest: according to treasury,
7:36 am
they have until august 2nd before the nation exhausts its borrowing ability. so they are going to work over these next few weeks to try to get something together. that is the only hardened deadline at the moment. even then we think that treasury has the ability to push that back. republicans do not know whether they need act by a certain deadline to raise the debt ceiling. host: what do republicans want and what did that democrats want? guest: the republicans see this debate as a way to lock into law limits on spending. they feel that spending is the main problem and has led to the massive deficit that we have right now. the democrats agreed that limits
7:37 am
to spending need to be put on, but they would rather, they want to see some type of tax increases involved in the package. in order that spread the pain of budget -- deficit reduction across the budget. host: the vice president is going up to these lawmakers, and what does he expect? guest: jon kyl said that they expect the focus today on about $150 billion in savings that as a possible area of agreement in which both the white house and senate democrats and house republicans are circling around. not exactly clear what makes up at 150 billion, but some things talked about are a 5% cut in federal workers' compensation
7:38 am
packages. that is something they have been talking about. also expecting some kind of caps on discretionary spending. hud is not exactly clear what that $150 billion consists of, but these are areas of the apparent agreement or overlapping of proposals out there. host: democrats have said they want the elimination of tax breaks for oil and gas companies part of this deal. but republicans say about that? guest: republicans would seem to be able to accept that idea. but only in the context of lowering taxes overall, the overall corporate tax rate, and it is not clear whether that will be in the deal not. it would take a while to do some kind of tax reform proposal. there does not seem to be enough time between now and the august 2 deadline to get that done.
7:39 am
host: you can read his story is at the national journal website. "washington times" this headline about the meeting. the house and senate is in session together for only four weeks engine. finding time to meet could be tricky. adding to the distraction is an official visit to italy in early june. but under obama said that he would like a compromise by the indigent. the public in -- republicans want spending cuts. that will be our topic coming up in about five minutes or so two senators. first we will talk with a senator from utah, republican senator freshman mike lee, and
7:40 am
then ron wyden of oregon. back to your thoughts about the supreme court decision on california to cut its prison population. we will go to a republican in virginia. caller: i am an ex-offender in virginia. most of the prison population in the state of virginia are people that are basically probation or parole violators. four basic things, like jaywalking, drunk in public, anything that they can be violated on, it is pretty much an endless loop if you are in the system. it is impossible to get out. the prisons in virginia are entirely overcrowded.
7:41 am
hard bed space is being taken up by people that are non-violent, whose offense is being an alcoholic, being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and are hardened criminals, drug dealers, murderers, and rapists that still rummage street -- that still roam the streets and can avoid lawyers and can avoid being incarcerated. like i said, most of the prison population of virginia as far as i know is made up people that are convicted of minor offenses. host: here is the headline in "usa today," the president's fund-raising already paying off. $12.4 million raised in april, more than double the hall of the
7:42 am
republican national committee that month. mitt romney has announced he has raised $10.5 million on one day. the former governor of minnesota had the biggest fund- raiser on thursday, an event in -- attended by 400 people, raising over $400,000. we covered his speech yesterday. also another political speech. dennis kucinich, who may lose his house seat, is mulling a run in washington state. that is the kahne "new york times." democrats are trying to persuade elizabeth warren, whose heads up the new consumer agency, enticing her to run again scott brown in massachusetts. we will go to north carolina, a democrat.
7:43 am
call our, you are on the air. caller: i called about that california supreme court decision. but people do not understand, the present system is a business. as long as it is a business, that california is full of those gains from other countries like a salvador -- el all of these gangs, and your kids are exposed to that and they come out much worse than when they went in. but my personal opinion, i think what they should do is form a commission, and work on they three strikes law.
7:44 am
1 million people have been incarcerated in this country. they should really look get how other countries deal with situations like that. that is just my opinion. host: california, you are our last caller on this. caller: it does come down to people that do have minor offenses. but it is a felony. when you do have three felonies in california, you are out. but these minor charges that are felonies, it is still just people that are now going out to the present. the ones that do come out, learning the prison life, they will come out and do worse than what they were before they went in. host: coming up next, senator mike lee about raising the debt ceiling. we will be right back.
7:45 am
♪ no one succeeds in live by themselves. you must be willing to lean on others, to listen to others, and yes, love others. watch commencements speeches on memorial day weekend and search more than eight out -- 800 past speeches from world leaders and more online at the peabody award-winning c-span video library, where you can search, watch, clip, and share every event we have covered from 1987 until now. it is a washington your way. >> this june, the balance between security and liberty. the difficulties of the climate
7:46 am
change treaty, and the limits of international law. your questions for eric congressional directory, a including books -- eric complete guide to the first hist>> you are watching c-span, bringing you politics and public affairs. every morning it is "washington journal," our live call-in program about the news of the day, connecting you with elected officials, policymakers, and journalists. weekdays, watch live coverage of the u.s. house, and on weeknights, congressional hearings and policy forums. also supreme court oral arguments. on the weekends, you can see our signature interview programs. on saturdays, "the communicators," and on sundays, "newsmakers," "q&a," and prime minister's questions from the british house of commons. you can also watch our programming any time at, and it is all searchable at our c-span video library. c-span -- washington your way, a public service created by america's cable companies.
7:47 am
>> "washington journal" continues. host: mike lee is our guest. the senate is expected to take a vote on paul ryan's budget, which was passed in the house. how will you vote on that? do you support that guest: plan yes, i do, and i will vote yes. this is a bold step and a direction that democrats have yet to take. they have yet to propose a budget, even though they were supposed to of done so by april 15. they have not proposed or passed a budget in about two years. i think it is time that we have one. host: new gingrich called that plan radical social change. what you make of that? guest: he needs to take into account the fact we do not have
7:48 am
a choice that involves just the status quo. there is no way according to the trustees of medicare to continued down the path that we are currently taking. to expect that we can fully fund medicare. we need some kind of change and this provides us with an option that is more sustainable. host: when you went home for the last break, what did you hear about this plan? guest: that it is a step in the right direction. no plan is perfect, and notwithstanding that the overall plan does not balance until the year 2063, it is a positive step in the right direction. host: would you call it a voucher program? guest: no, a premium support difference. host: what is the difference? guest: i am not sure that there is a difference. when americans buy health
7:49 am
insurance, the use of premium. this is a way of supporting it. some five time -- you can call it whatever you want. host: how you explain that the folks? guest: it is people paying the premiums. the federal government would pay a portion of the premium that people would have to pay in order to buy their health insurance. they would be responsible for making the decision as to which plan they purchase. host: let's talk about the other budget debate over the debt ceiling. you say you want a balanced budget amendment attached to any debt ceiling bode. guest: yes, they need to pass a balanced budget amendment but for the debt ceiling. yes, and if that does not occur before hand, and if it does not
7:50 am
happen before passing, i will vote against raising the debt limit. host: critics say that it would take at least five years to get ratified. is it even realistic to lay that marker down? guest: absolutely, it is realistic. there are very few out there that would suggest that we can balance our budget overnight. but over a five-year glidepath, we can bring it down to the requisite level. host: all republicans in the senate agreed with a balanced budget amendment. he said that we need this before the debt ceiling vote. how many colleagues to join you in that effort? guest: i should be able to give you a better figure a couple of weeks from now. host: to you have a handful?
7:51 am
guest: we expect to get more this week. host: 19 speaker boehner's idea by raising the debt ceiling by this much, spending cuts to match it? guest: this way we make it binding on future congressman. if things are stretched over 10 years, then we cannot bind future congresses to make sure that they did that. the only way to do that is through an amendment for the constitution. host: i just want your freeze as recline -- ezra klein's column. it is a bomb sitting at the basis of the economy. and we need to get it wrong only once for things to get very bad,
7:52 am
very fast. it is an entirely unnecessary risk. guest: in makes a fair point. congress has yet to do anything about it. congress has yet to change the way in which it kicks this can down the road. it's always next time it is going to do things differently. it reminds me of st. augustine, who about the time of his kurdish and -- conversion, who said it grammy chastity, but not yet. the crisis that we need to be worried about in addition to the crisis that that refers to is that if we continue increasing the debt limit over and over and over again and never doing anything differently, there will be a point when no one wants to buy our debt without
7:53 am
astronomically increasing the interest rates. at that rate, are federal programs will be in jeopardy. host: how would a balanced budget amendment work? guest: it would require congress to pass a budget in which outlays do not exceed revenues without at two-thirds supermajority in both congress. it would also required that a two thirds supermajority vote occur approved spending about 18% of gdp annually. host: i want to say you what someone say about this. >> the star in point is that we share with a number of members of congress great amount need to reduce spending. the goal of reducing our deficit. what we do not think is necessary is to amend the
7:54 am
constitution or to pass an across-the-board spending measure that will, for example, seriously under fund medicare and social security. and does the exact opposite in many ways the president has said is necessary, which is a balanced approach to our long- term deficit and debt problem. so we do not support that. host: he said it would undermine security and medicare. guest: i do not know how he could possibly say that. what he is leaving out is the fact that it would also undermined social security and medicare to do exactly what we're doing right now. there is nothing of a balanced budget amendment proposal that i have submitted or am aware of that would in an exurb late target medicare, medicaid, social security, or any
7:55 am
particular government program. soft there are always going to be difficult -- what this attested to his rally support around the idea that cutting is inevitable. that we have to cut and we will figure out where to cut. but it is simply false to say that this would necessarily require cuts in a program. host: let's get to our phone calls. north carolina, you are up first. caller: i don't think they should raise the debt ceiling. they should watch their spending and quit knocking medicare and social security. they keep on cutting it down. i do not make that much anyway. host: let's be clear. you set don't raise the debt ceiling? caller: don't raise the debt ceiling. watch the spending. host: what if it included
7:56 am
spending cuts or a plan like the senator? caller: a balanced budget amendment, yes. guest: i agree wholeheartedly with a collar. i intend to follow it. host: oklahoma, john is a republican. caller: good morning, c-span. the morning, mr. lee. i've got one comment and one question. what would be wrong with everybody who works for the government and draws a government check, which i call a welfare check free all, what would be with them taking a 50% cut in salary instead of messing with social security? that is not the government's money. that is all of us folks that have paid all of these years,
7:57 am
and they think they own it and keep digging into it, that is what is wrong with that now. host: talking about federal employees? let's take that first one. reducing the federal employee pay, and satellite. guest: freezing or cutting federal salaries is always an option. it has been thrown out there in is worth considering. if we were to knock it down the 50%, there would be a mass exodus of federal employees. some might argue that that might not be a bad thing. i doubt very seriously that there would be support for such a drastic reduction. but at the same time, i suspect that there would be support for a more modest cut the federal salaries. it is not one to solve our problems. we will not solve our problem without addressing the big programs out there, including things like defense and entitlements. host: and social security, which he made the point that it is not
7:58 am
taxpayer money, that they have paid into it their whole life. guest: i understand that sentiment. it is a sentiment that has been supported by these annual statement sent out by the social security administration. but as the caller acknowledged, the government has behaved entirely inconsistent with that understanding. the federal government has rated debt over and over again to the tunes of trillions of dollars, using it for other purposes. that is not how it has been operated. host: a democrat. did i get your name right christma? caller: those are not the problem with the people. that is a problem with the republican administration that took that money and they should not have and they spent us into oblivion. now they want to take away the
7:59 am
american people's jobs and their livelihood and their net worth for retirement. many people do not even have a pension and you cannot save a nickel when you're paying $500 a month to get to work for gas money. i just cannot imagine what you guys are thinking when you keep on giving to the rich and you gave all of those tax cuts to the rich and not any jobs anywhere. it is just a big fuss. host: what you think of her comments? guest: i completely disagree with the suggestion that this could be attributed to republicans. both republicans and democratic congresses have raided the social security fund, over and over and over again. this cannot be pegged to either party. number two, no one has taken money and given it to the rich. the top 2% of income earners in
8:00 am
this country pay the overwhelming amount of revenues that come into the government. we we have a tax system that results in and the rich pay and almost all the taxes in this country. by preserving certain tax cuts, giving money to the rich, and that simply is not true. host: we will go to florida, an independent caller. caller: hawi think he should bea used car salesman. host: why are you making that comment? caller: because he is trying to tell us, us seniors, we can go in the private insurance market and they will help us buy
8:01 am
insurance and knowing good and well it is going to cost us win more that way. guest: we have to remember that those who say that we can simply continue with the current program that we have are presenting us with a false option. there is no option that involves maintaining medicare as it now exists. it is no work. the trustees have acknowledged that the current program is unsustainable. it will not work. my hat goes off to a representative paul ryan for coming up with this option. if the caller or anybody else has a better idea, i am all ears. host: what you think of the paul ryan budget plan? you have seen your republican colleagues to back away from the plans.
8:02 am
what do you make of this? guest: paul ryan did the courageous thing here. my advice to newt gingrich, for whatever it is worth, if he is listening, we cannot what you said about paul ryan's plan. if he wants to be taken seriously, he needs to be supportive of both efforts moving forward. if he has some things to make it better, that is great. don't go around kicking and paul ryan for something that was a courageous or necessary host: its like newt gingrich will not get your vote. a guest: key will not for that comment. -- he will not for that comment. they are both great men and served as governors in their respective states.
8:03 am
i wish them both well. host: would you consider endorsing -- guest: we will see. what i am looking for is how this president to candidate would address our serious, daunting, fiscal problems with this president demand that a balanced budget amendment be passed prior to signing legislation to raise the debt limit? those are some of the things i am looking for and would like to hear from mitt romney or michele bachmann or anyone else who is out there looking for a vote from a primary election voters like me. host: that is our topic this morning. our guest is mike lee. the republican is up next for the senator. guestcaller: i do not believe
8:04 am
raising the debt limit. i think we need to study our budget. the first thing that could be done is to strike out all of the billions of dollars going out to foreign aid. they do not appreciate it. host: how much of that makes up the federal budget? guest: advocates of a foreign aid are quick to point out that we are talking about 1% more or less of the federal budget. those that are proponents of it point out that it is still an awful lot amount of money. we do have to look. we have to remember that within the broader category of what people refer to as foreign aid, we have to separate that aid that is primarily military, from
8:05 am
that which serves a morse humanitarian purpose. i do not disagree with the sentiment that says force humanitarian issues, we have to look at whether or not we as americans can support those things in a way that does not require us to do that through the federal government. i do not think we can pull back to that point immediately, but it is worth considering. even if we pulled out all foreign aid everywhere, immediately, it would put a tiny dent in what we need to do in order to balance the budget. we do have to address some difficult things like military spending and entitlement spending. you have had the republicans saying i will never consider looking at the military budget. you have had democrats who have said i will never considered any adjustments to entitlement programs. now you are seeing conseand
8:06 am
consensus with both parties. host: what do you think about this talk with joe biden -- what do you make of all of those discussions? guest: i am glad they are happening. we need to address these rigorously and aggressively. host: are you -- do you think something will come out of it? guest: i applaud them for doing it and then look forward to seeing what they propose. i am not skeptical, but i am anticipating the moment at which they produce something, and that will take a look at it at that point. host: go ahead, margaret. caller: i am curious about something. are you [unintelligible]
8:07 am
guest: i would not consider myself an i rand supporter. i believe in free market economics, the principles of supply and demand. i am not sure what the caller is referring to. host: we will go to caterina and staten island, new york. caller: good morning. nobody talks. why do they not tell the senior citizens that obamacare cut $500 billion out of medicare and then in 10 years it will be $1 trillion? why does nobody say that? also, the money into banks, $3
8:08 am
trillion -- guest: is a great point. -- it is a great point that sometimes goes un-made. $500 billion in cuts to medicare. and that is why it is sometimes interesting when republicans are attacked or making suggestions, propose an adjustment, when they themselves have brought about a massive cuts to medicare under the affordable care act. a host: do you think the repeal of the obama's new health care law -- should that be a part of any debt ceiling debate vote? guest: i have voted to repeal it and the fund in and i will continue to push for that. i do not think any one piece of
8:09 am
legislation will be enough to convince me to rate and the debt limit. what to want is permanent change, structural reforms mechanisms built into the constitution. that is what i will require in order to come to the table on the debt limit. host: good morning, tim. caller: good morning. it because they have raided the social security fund, we are paying for it was because they replaced it with an iou. people do not pay for everything with taxes. when they keep on reinvesting their money, they do not have to pay any taxes. why don't you go after the doctors where the money is instead of trying to cut medicare? thank you. guest: as to the first point, he is referring to the fact that when we spend all that money, congress has rated over the
8:10 am
years from various revenue sources including social security. it just issues more dead which is part of the problem. as we approach the debt limit increase, we do not just instinctively raise it as we have done over and over and over again, resulting in this compound and of our national debt. that is a problem. he referred to the fact that we need to go after the doctors. i do not know what he means by this. doctors have been reimbursed at increasingly lower rates, so i am not sure a lot more you can get out of that. host: but congress keeps to the make sure fix to picture those cuts do not get in place. guest: that is not going to fix the problem. you cannot say you have to treat
8:11 am
in this person and we are not going to pay you. that is no work. -- that does not work. host: david is a republican in mississippi. caller: how are you doing this morning? i don't understand why of the callers can understand there is no such thing as a republican or a democrat. they'd never will be. they are all pushing for the same agenda. all of these things are leading up to the irs running our health care eventually. this is all globalism. people have to start learning that this is not real. this is all sleight of hand, smoke and mirrors. host: we will go to richard, an independent in florida. a caller coke good morning.
8:12 am
caller: good morning. it is about raising the debt ceiling. i think the message was loud and clear last december. stop spending, reduce the size of government. the people who are already compromising, i am talking about the republican party, which probably has no conservatives in it anymore, -- the previous caller from mississippi who said we are going to globalism, it sure seems like that to a lot of people right now. both parties are coming together to fight against the independents in this country. we are going to lose a constitutional rights and liberties. we can see that happening right
8:13 am
now when both parties -- host: i think we got your point. any reaction to what you heard? guest: there are some of us in congress who are against many of the things he is talking to. it has not always been republicans in many instances. it has been democrats who have rated the social security trust fund. i appreciate the fact that there are concerns about the yielding sovereignty. i am not aware of a push to move us toward that that is making any headway. host: i want to go back to your proposal. i want to ask you about what you are proposing. does yours include proposing the
8:14 am
budget except for in times of war? is that the part of your proposal? guest: it does contain that exception. host: that idea was rejected on the grounds that it would likely force a tax increase -- guest: first of all, that article needs to take into account this specific proposal, the one that is backed by the republicans in the senate. that one does contain restrictions regarding spending as a percentage of gdp, limited to 18%. it would require a two-thirds supermajority vote in order to raise taxes. the author of that peace should
8:15 am
examine this proposal. this is not your mother's balanced budget amendment proposal. host: when you were having these discussions about what to propose, what was the conversation like about past mistakes? guest: number one, within my party, it has been that it could serve as an opportunity for some to force a tax increase, which is why we built that into it. we wanted to make sure that it was difficult to manipulate, that it simply could not be manipulated by tricky accounting. outlays and revenues would have to match. when you couple those two things together, it makes it very difficult to skirt the
8:16 am
underlying requirement. host: what about increasing taxes for those that make is certain percentage of income? the wealthier americans, letting the bush tax cuts for those folks expire? would that be a part of any deal put forward? if there is a deal that comes together -- when you are talking about balancing the budget, some say you are going to have to increase taxes. guest: i completely disagree with that. in order for us to get out of the economic malaise in which we find ourselves, call it a recession or whatever, we are going to have to create jobs. this is about job creation. you have to have people that are willing to invest to create jobs. and when you punish those who would otherwise invest by telling them if you make a
8:17 am
profit on your investment, we are going to tax you at an increased rate, that discourages, rather than encourages, investment. host: louis greenwald rights in the air -- -- writes in -- guest: we have to take into account what does that 1% is already paying. they are paying a high percentage of taxes already in the same people who will the will be relying on making investments that are necessary in order to create jobs. we cannot simply legislate our way into new jobs. it does not work. it is taking money from one group and giving it to another, which slows a job creation. host: back to the phone calls. a michigan.
8:18 am
caller: good morning. i have a three-part question. the first part of it is through the nsa -- they have an lot of different -- from 2006, they wasted $1.30 trillion -- what kinds of things are we going to do to try to eliminate the waste? what about the pentagon? what is so secret about -- how, we cannot audit them? the third part is exactly what we going to be spending if he will be given us a of vouchers when there is the majority of people on medicaid and medicare with pre-existing conditions? thank you. guest: if i am understanding correctly, the first two
8:19 am
questions deal with the question of government waste. a waste, fraud, and abuse is always at the top of the list. we have a program after program that is designed to find waste, fraud, and abuse. you cannot stamp all of it out. you cannot balance the budget entirely on that. to are going to have to look other areas in addition to that. i wish that was not the case. host: he was also referring to the auditing at the pentagon, that they do not have the capability or they are not keeping track of what they are spending across-the-board. that has been an issue for congress is in the past. guest: that is being examined, and i think there are new auditing practices that would eliminate that.
8:20 am
i think we could save money doing that. it has to be a part of the package that we consider. these kinds of things will not likely to make a difference to balance our budget until we require congress to balance its budget every year. it just will not happen. want procedures like this to move forward, we have to tie congress' hands. they will spend money that they do not have. i was not sure as to his exact point other than he was talking about pre-existing conditions and will that work. again, this is an effort to save those beneficiaries of medicare so they do retained a benefit. they have been given assurances over the years based on taxes that they have paid.
8:21 am
the program will be there for them. in the kind of a premium support systems like the one that has been proposed by paul ryan is one that will give them something that otherwise is placed in great jeopardy. host: this is an e-mail -- guest: that has not been my understanding. medicare advantage, as i understand it, has been successful. my underlying point out that the affordable care act, rating $500 billion out of medicare, is that it was the democrats that did that. not the republicans. host: will move on to an
8:22 am
independent caller out of florida. good morning. caller: good morning. yeah, mr. lee, from what i understand, the purse strings from washington -- guest: the purse strings are originated in the house. caller: if the house initiates a bill and the senate does not accept it, does that mean the house can say, mr. obama, you cannot spend a dime? mr. lee, you also said that a rating of the social security trust fund could not be paid to the republicans or democrats. it has been basically stolen from the american people.
8:23 am
guest: yeah, ok, so, as to the latter point about the rating of the social security trust fund and others, it is important that we remember that any time one congress is in power at that moment, what is that congress chooses to spend is up to that congress. in that respect, a program that promises benefits into perpetuity is one that all americans should give some skepticism based on past behavior. congress has, in the past, wanted to have its cake and eat it too. we need to reinforce to all americans that each, risk need to be judged on the basis of what it does, not on promises it makes a way out in the future.
8:24 am
the other point is that the caller made has to do with, basically, a forced the government shut down, congress refusing to pass a budget and not authorizing the president to spend any money. if that were to happen, the president would have some discretion to decide what to cut and under what circumstances. most americans consider that and undesirable situation, something that we would want to try to avoid because we do not know where those cuts will occur. in some ways, and that might well and hands and then diminish the president's power. it could lead to lots of chaos. that always remains an option when you cannot have -- if both houses of congress cannot come to an agreement with the president, that can happen and it has happened, but i do not think anyone in congress want
8:25 am
that to happen, but we will see what happens. host: this blog post was written recently -- would you be on board with
8:26 am
something like that? guest: i would have to look at the details on that. i am glad defined contribution is part of the planned and is not categorically evil. host: let's go to louisiana on our democratic line. caller: i would like to make a couple of points. on the ryan tax cut, our budget that you will vote on, will you tell people where the savings will go from the cuts to medicare and social security? teh gao said the ryan budget would be 11 trillion dollars out of balance. how in the world can you vote for something like that?
8:27 am
guest: he makes a point as i alluded to earlier that the ryan plan is a bold step in the right direction. it is not sufficient. it still continues to acquire -- it still continues to acquire a large deficits. we do need more than that. it is a good step in the right direction but it is not sufficient. caller: good morning, mr. lee. i would like to know how do you think society can survive this no-abortion thing when the children of these unwed mothers -- there is a preponderant where there are special needs children or behavior problems. there is this one white woman that i work for.
8:28 am
she has a five children and a she is an unwed mother. the fifth grader who is supposed to be a sixth grader was arrested for shoplifting. host: what is your point? caller: my point is how much is this amendment costing us? we are paying for additional education and child support, medicaid, for these children. when they are arraigned to the custody of the accord, we are also paying for them. that theto the extent caller is a safe abortion is the answer to these problems, i think that is phenomenally offensive. we do not kill people in this country because of their existence of brings about some expense to society. caller: yes, hi, thank you, c-
8:29 am
span. i want to make a few comments. we pay tens of thousands of dollars over our lifetime of work history into social security. when we need it, it is not there. people who apply for social security disability are denied time and time and time again when they need it. i work with people who are elderly and getting ready to leave this world, and yet the little bit of social security that they get are forced to determine whether they can afford their life-saving medication or food to eat. i think it is such a farce. thank you very much. guest: the definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting different results. i do not think we should place confidence -- i do not think the
8:30 am
reward for congress after congress has behaved so irresponsibly with these funds over the course of so many decades -- congress should not be rewarded for that this behavior by saying here, we will give you more money. knowing full well that you are going to use those funds for other things at the moment. i think that should bring us in the direction of defined contribution plans. host: we have about a minute or so left with you. a democrat in alabama. go ahead caller: one, we have not heard of the speaker discuss the flat tax. one possibly tax everyone at a rate with no deductions for anybody including the large corporations to balance the
8:31 am
budget? the second part deals with the response given a few minutes ago it is offensive to kill people in america. we do not do that. yet the plan that is presented allows a senior citizens who are sick to not be able to buy their medications to get care and to die slowly. why? guest: as to the flat tax, i completely support that and will always support a move to push congress in the direction of a tax system that is flatter and fairer. a single rate, essentially, national sales tax program. either one of those would be beneficial. either one of those would get rid of these loopholes that are available to wealthy individuals, large corporations,
8:32 am
and it would result in everyone pay and into the system. everyone would feel the cost of the federal government every time they make the purchase, a strong reminder of the fact that what is done here in washington really does have an expense that every one of the american people feel. we have a tax system now that distorts the distribution of the payments system that most americans cannot feel the fact that they are paying exorbitant sums into this system. they are paying it through a pass-along increase prices of goods and services. as to the second point, look, acknowledging that our federal government is broke, alleging that we lack the money to continue to provide certain services that have been promised, promised disingenuously by a congress rating these funds unnecessarily is very different from saying
8:33 am
that the solution to our problem is more abortions so we can get rid of people who are inconvenient. i am sure the caller can understand that. host: we have one last caller for you from fairfax, virginia. caller: one of the montrose of the republican party is deregulation. the people involved in business law are the same people that do tax law, drug use, and murder even. shouldn't you deregulate everything so you can pick and choose? the second comment i have is the other mantra of the republican party is the liberal media. 61 percent of the time, there were republican guests on their show on npr.
8:34 am
shouldn't you push to reinstate the fairness doctrine? host: we will have to take his first point because we are running out of time. it guest: as large of an opponent i -- i am an opponent of the fairness doctrine. it stands for government control of the media. when the government to stay out of expression through the news media channels. i am a big opponent of that would lead to less an expression, rather than more. host: think you for coming back and talking to our viewers. coming up next, democrat ron wyden from oregon. >> president obama says he once midwesterners to know that the federal government is there to help. the president will fly to misery on sunday to meet with the
8:35 am
victims and survey damage. the death toll from sunday's a twister is at least 116 expected to rise. queen elizabeth has welcomed the obama's to buckingham palace with a state visit to britain. they met privately at the palace with prince william and kate middleton. mr. obama is on day two of his european visit. meanwhile, british air traffic controllers say ash from the erupting volcano will affect flights out of northern england and northern ireland this afternoon. the agency that controls air traffic over britain and the eastern atlantic says at this point airports will stay open but the flight will be affected. nato has launched its most intense bombardment yet against muammar gaddafi's stronghold in the tripoli. more than 20 explosions or set off.
8:36 am
homeownership in the u.s. is at its lowest point since the 1988. a new census data analyzed by the joint center for housing studies and the associated press says that because the economic crisis is affecting some of the americans who used to own homes, they are no red ink because of foreclosures or pregnancy. even those who can afford to buy feel it is too risky at this time. those are the latest headlines on c-span radio. >> now available, c-span's congressional directory. inside, new and returning house and senate members with contact information. and information on the white house, supreme court justices and the governors. order online. >> this june -- the balance between security and liberty and
8:37 am
difficulties of a climate change treaty, and the limits of international law. your questions for law professor eric posner. he will take your calls coming e-mails, and tweets. >> you are watching c-span, bringing you politics and public affairs every morning. it is "washington journal," connecting the with elected officials and journalists. weekdays, watched live coverage of the u.s. house. also, supreme court oral arguments. on the weekends, you can see our signature interview programs. you can also watch our program in any time at, and it is all searchable at our c-
8:38 am
span to deal library. -- video library. >> "washington journal" continues. host: ron wyden is our guest, a member of the budget committee. that is our topic this morning. let me begin with what is expected to happen on the floor this week. democratic leaders are going to bring up the proposal from the house to force a vote. the republicans say they will respond by forcing you and other democrats to take a vote on president obama's budget proposal from february. are you a yes vote? guest: neither of these alternatives to address what we have to do in this economy. there is a huge unrest among middle-class folks about the economic challenge. this kind of on the planet is different from what we have seen in the past -- this kind of unemployment is different
8:39 am
from what we have seen in the past. i want to offer a bipartisan proposals. we have issued the first bipartisan tax bill. we take away the tax breaks for shipping jobs overseas, in the use of those very same dollars to cut rates for those who grow jobs in the united states. neither of these two alternatives to address those approaches. my sense is that some of these debates are just inevitable. i think what you have to do now and what the country is anxious for is to get beyond scoring political points. you have to get to real solutions. i just mention one. we have introduced what i think is a dramatic step forward in health care. it quoted the billions of dollars of medicare payments and are kept secret -- hundreds of
8:40 am
billions of dollars of medicare patients are kept secret. we want to open up that database. the american people will be in a position to get more value of the health-care dollar. coming up with sensible policies to address issues like tax reform. host: senator mitch mcconnell was on the fox news on sunday and compared and contrasted what paul ryan wants to do with medicare. let's listen. >> we need to be talking about medicare is in trouble. it was declared last week that we have to change medicare and change quickly. the president would do that, too, with a board that would ration health care. nobody is trying to throw granma off a cliff. medicare is in serious trouble. and soon. the president would ration care
8:41 am
which would adversely affect granma. what paul ryan would do is empower granma in the private market to shop and get the best possible deal. host: his criticism of president obama's plant on medicare? guest: 60% of the budget is spent on 10% of the population. these are the folks who have chronic diseases. the suitor that we get to a bipartisan approach to get more beer -- the sooner that we get bipartisan approaches, the better. we always think a lot of money in terms of institutional care for those patients who would be better spent in terms of home care. i think there is a bipartisan alternative if people stay in washington, d.c. host: if we only get to take a vote, do you have any concerned that there is an un-elected
8:42 am
board of bureaucrats in washington -- guest: it is real simple. if they make the decision that the american people do not like, the american people are going to show up at the town hall meeting, and that decision will be gone in a matter of days. host: do you support the idea of creating -- guest: i have real reservations about that. look at the kind of approach members of congress have where you have these very large insurance pools. insurance companies cannot discriminate. there is a group of people who do not complain about their health care in this country, and that is members of congress. as long as i am in the public life, i will keep pushing for that. host: you have at started a bipartisan legislation on many
8:43 am
different fronts in the senate. what do you make of what a vice- president joe biden is trying to do to come up with some sort of deal on revenue and spending to go forward? guest: i think it is worth the time. you almost need a scorecard to follow all of the budget players. you have the gang of six, now which i guess is the gang 05. the once and i hope that will be done is everything -- the one thing i hope that will be done is everything it needs to be on the table. military and efficiency. put everything on the table. usually, we just have these senior members. i have consulted widely with almost all of them. they modeled their tax
8:44 am
recommendations after our bill. host: pat is a democrat in cleveland, ohio. caller: i think we need to keep the income structure going. it would create jobs and more taxes. bring the soldiers home from europe. this would generate some income four of those cities that lost income when their bases were closed. i think this would help. guest: i think we should put pat in charge of the federal government. she was making good recommendations. the approach i have taken is the first time we have ever used and approach to really attract private sector investments for transportation. the original projection is you might sell $6 billion, but at
8:45 am
the end of the year it was $80 billion worth of bonds sold. i think you are spot on. i hope congress pays attention. caller: yes, i am sure glad to hear you because so far it has been battle after battle after battle. i voted for obama. i was disappointed when the president made his first decision, that he gave the money to the banks and to wall street, it seems like the republicans now do not want to do anything for us. i am a disabled vietnam veteran, one hunter%, and i also get social security. in the last three years, i have not gotten a raise in social
8:46 am
security. i cannot understand why the federal government's conduct keep its hands off social security and figure out other ways to fix the budget without taking money from social security. i think all of the money owed to social security, if it was paid back, we would not have the problems that we do now. guest: this caller is making an important point about a double standard in america, the fact that the banks got this big bailout and he is looking at a variety of budget cuts. it that is why i voted against the wall street bailout legislation. in particular, it established a dangerous economic theory which is if you are big and powerful, you could do a bunch of irresponsible stuff and get bailed out. i do not think we won that
8:47 am
approach in this country where we have a marketplace of economy -- i do not think we want that approach in this country where we have a marketplace economy. host: how can the congress address social security? they have said that social security first began operating at a loss in 2010. the trusties now expect the program to remain in the red it going toward. guest: if you look at the entitlement crunch specifically, medicare is a far, far more immediate challenge than the social security. medicare is the fastest growing program in government. that is why i mentioned tackling real expenses which is chronic care first. start with medicare. it is a far more immediate threat. host: we asked about these of
8:48 am
votes that are expected to come up this week in the senate, the first on the paul ryan budget plan and the republicans trying to force a vote on the president's plan. here is what he had to say about senate democrats not having a budget. do you support the plan? guest: yes, i do and i will vote yes. it is a step in the direction that democrats have yet to propose. they have not proposed a budget or passed a budget in about two years. i think it is time that we have one. guest: the fact is, neither side has proposed a bipartisan approach to the budget. i am in favor of a bipartisan approach, and that is i would start on the floor of the distance said it with a simpson bold approach.
8:49 am
i do not agree with everything in it. that is where i would start. then you go through the process, offering of bids. neither side has offered a big leg that. host: it was a mistake for your budget chairmen not to put forth a plan? was eight -- was it a mistake? guest: at kent conrad has made it clear that he is going to be a part of this process. the discussions that are going on there with the vice president still allows for something that can build on bull's simpson. they wanted to ask what specifically i was for. i would be in favor of taking the simpson-bowles approach to the floor of the senate and making it open for an amended. it is certainly down the road.
8:50 am
it is done going to happen this week. that is why the discussions with the vice president are so crucial. get us to the point with a respected taxes and health care, giving us a chance to get beyond scoring political points. host: vice president joe biden beating up on capitol hill with a handful of lawmakers that her trademark to hash out some sort of budget deal, including the republican whip and other senators and, house democratic leader congressman cliburn, and chris van hollen, the ranking member of the house budget committee. let's go to tennessee on our democratic line. host: good morning both of you. i have two quick questions. i have been listening to the program this morning.
8:51 am
one caller called in earlier and what he said, i agree. corp. said they are jobs overseas -- i am a 60-year-old black woman. [unintelligible] making furniture -- a lot of other business would be shipped overseas. one way to bring back the jobs here for ordinary people who work here and make america a good because we are about progress from wal-mart. please, charge of these big corporations every week. if it is $8 million a week, to bring back our jobs. guest: i have been able to offer a specific approach to do
8:52 am
what you are talking about. right now on to the tax law, if somebody close is a business in the dead states in this sets up shop overseas, they do not pay taxes to the american government before they bring that money back. i think we should use those dollars for what i call red, white, and blue jobs, jobs in this country. there is a whole host of industries that would benefit from the approach i am talking about with a republican senator from indiana. those are the kinds of jobs which should be focusing on. the goal for this country is to grow things in america, make things in here in america, added value, and then ship them somewhere. we should use those very same dollars to lower the tax rates for our businesses that operate here in our country. host: kent, ohio.
8:53 am
caller: i want to ask you a question. my aunt shirley makes $500 a month, and they are talking about taking all of these -- cutting this and cutting this for social security. what is she going to live on? she makes $500 a month. my girlfriend who is retired from taco bell makes $80 a month. mother in law makes $1,400 a month. how are these people supposed to live if you guys keep cutting? guest: the reality is, ma'am, there are millions of folks in this country just like the three examples you mentioned. i will nonsupport taking the safety and get away from them
8:54 am
and the most honorable people in america. we have millions walking on an economic tight rope, just like the folks you mentioned. dell they have these crushing gasoline bills -- now, they have these crushing gasoline bills. we are in it together, and that does not mean sacrificing so many of the essentials for the people that need the safety net. host: margaret, you are on the air. caller: i am supposed to get $1,200 a month in social security, and the government has said they are going to take out over half of it. what am i supposed to live on? i have a house payment that totals over $300. first electric is over $100.
8:55 am
every time i try to sign up to get something, -- i need help from the doctor because i am disabled. they keep telling me that we cannot help you because of the woman i am living with, they automatically say we are buried. -- we are married. since 1964, they have been saying we were married. guest: from the seat of my pants, i cannot conceive of something that would allow your $1,200 social security check to be reduced to $600. i used to run and aid program for senior citizens, so i follow this kind of thing. i cannot imagine anything that would allow that -- social security is an earned benefit.
8:56 am
probably, what you ought to do is call your member of congress's office. i do not know of and the legal theory where you can reduce those benefits like 50%. we would be glad to help you. host: on the republican line, walther is in mississippi. caller: i am a first-time caller. i have seen all of this spending since the early 1870's. the way i see it is if we done away with medicaid and medicare, i would think that all these problems with the hospitals and the bills and all would drop dramatically if we stop these programs. thank you.
8:57 am
guest: first of all, the reason we got into this place, at least the reason we got started, before there was medicare, there were a lot of older people that basically lived in poor farms. it was just breathtaking in terms of the lack of dignity and freedom and suffering that older people had before there was medicare. there was no question that these programs, over the years, have brought some areas and that clearly need to be reformed. that is why i mentioned a proposal that the republican senator from iowa and i have. there are hundreds of billions of dollars that go out to providers. we are proposing on a bipartisan basis that that money be publicly disclosed. we think that will help people to help hold down health-care costs.
8:58 am
we know why these programs -- there were poor frams before we had that program. host: on this issue of premium support on the voucher system, people like a democrat has served on the deficit commission says there is a way to compromise on premium support. do you see it with a compromise -- do you see a way to compromise? make sureu've got to amk if health care costs go up beyond the amount of the voucher, the senior does not get wiped out. the fact is, -- the senior takes
8:59 am
a hit. i do not take a back seat to anybody in terms of working on a bipartisan basis for approaches that involved the marketplace. i do think we should start with your people because with the federal employee plan, we have shown that with your folks that are working, they are in a position to bargain. they have more opportunities and flexibility. with the ryan voucher plan, they are not likely to keep up with her character -- health-care costs. with respect to medicare, i see it first going where the body is. 10 percent of the medicare population, 60% of the medicare dollars. more than half of medicare goes to 10% of the population. that is where i would start. the first thing we ought to do
9:00 am
is focus more on the chronic care services of outpatient treatment rather than hospital and emergency care. what we have now in this country is a chronic care is so poorly coordinated. somebody takes an ambulance to a hospital emergency room, it is not good for the patient or the tax payer. i have introduced independence at home, where we start moving toward the care for those on an outpatient basis. host: we will host: democratic caller in tennessee. caller: i am here. host: you are on the air, sir. caller: as a democrat all my life, it if i could vote for a republican, i would, but i cannot bring myself to do it. when the republicans in power,
9:01 am
when one takes a step, and they all take a step, but you guys are but a bipartisan this, bipartisan that did that won't get us know where. they hate you. guest: first of all, i would say that if you look at the past 25 or 30 years, the big things, almost all of them, were bipartisan. this tax approach i am talking about is modeled on the basis of what very progressive democrats and ronald reagan got together on in the 1980's. there are a variety of ways, i understand that, but in the two years after democrats and ronald reagan and the democrats -- democrats and ronald reagan got together in the 1980's, we traded 6.3 million new jobs. that -- we created 6.3 million new jobs. that sounds pretty darn good to me today. i've been able, sir, to get republicans to support taking
9:02 am
away tax breaks per shipping jobs overseas and using those very same dollars to cut taxes on people who do business in the united states. that is one of the ways we can have a recovery with real jobs rather than what we're seeing now. host: independent caller, petersburg, virginia. caller: couple things to say here. previous caller said a few things that i wanted to speak about. i am on a disability, social security. a little over a $10 a month, and it takes -- a little over $800 a month, and they take time out for medicare. there are tests to b one -- to be run at a 20% and they are so high i cannot get it done. people are getting richer and richer and richer, a small
9:03 am
majority, and the west must pay know billion bah-- i don't who those people are, but they are the ones who can afford gas. guest: what i believe we want for our economic theory in this country is a philosophy that says we want to make it possible for everybody to have a chance to get ahead in america. you were mentioning the idea that the rich are getting richer and there is no question about that. i think the tax approach i'm talking about is about promoting public education, quality public education. you mentioned the fact that the rich are getting richer. at the education gap between people at the top of the economic ladder and people at the bottom is growing even faster than the income gap. we have got to tackle these major kinds of issues -- taxes, health care costs, improving our roads and transportation systems. i don't think there's any time to waste.
9:04 am
what i hear, and i eat have many meetings in every county of my state, is people saying knock off the drill of washington, d.c. of just scoring political points, get some approaches of bringing people together, and on this show in the past 25 minutes, on taxes, health care, transportation, i have tried to outline ideas i am working on with senior republicans, influential senior republicans come back and help us tackle this problem. host: republican in ohio, we have about 10 minutes left with the senator. caller: it is a question i have always wanted answered, something i have been aware of or about 20 years. say you have an individual who is disabled who is receiving physical security disability, an individual who is receiving supplemental security income -- i have no idea what the income is funded from, but if an individual is in need of
9:05 am
medicaid, and they are disabled, and they are receiving social security disability because they paid into social security all of their life, and they are entitled to social security, the individual who receives the supplemental security income, when they apply for medicaid, the one who is paying the taxpayer and paying into social security does not get medicaid free and clear. sometimes it is hundred $4,000 or more a month before they would be entitled to -- hundreds or thousands of dollars a month before they are entitled to medicaid. free and clear, month to month, no copayment, nothing. guest: i used to run a legal aid program for the elderly and followed particularly every detail in these programs, but even then, it is hard to give an answer from the seat of your pants. let me tell you my first reaction. you asked about supplemental
9:06 am
security income. that is essentially public assistance. it is paid for from your tax dollars -- in fact, when you send your 1040 form in in april, those are the taxes you pay for the services offered by government, and one of them is supplemental security income. usually those folks have it in, that is so low that that always qualifies them for medicaid -- have income that is so low that that always qualifies them for medicaid. if you're asking me that how is it that somebody on supplemental security income is eligible for medicaid and gets it quickly, i believe that is the answer. host: i have kind of a blunt tweet -- can you speak to the cost? guest: that is an enormously
9:07 am
important question. as listeners know, we have a very polarized debate on health reform involving all this discussion about death panels, which was absurd -- there were not any death panels in the health reform bill. at the end of the health reform legislation, i was able to get something into the bill that i think finally responds to what the caller is talking about, and that is for the first time under the legislation i was able to get in, in a number of states, it would be possible for someone in those last days to be eligible for the hospice benefits, but also not have to give up the prospect of charity care. now, we know that most of those individuals are not going to be seeking purity of that care. they're interested in comfort care, they want their families around. but what we have to do, what is the answer to your question, is to ensure two things -- first,
9:08 am
that folks in the last days have a wider array of choices for their health care, and second, they, not the government, are able to call the shots. i think the expansion of hospice that i was able to get in the health reform bill goes a long way toward achieving those objectives. host: democrat in atlanta. caller: please don't cut me off. social security is a lot more people are paying. you people said you have 17 people to one paying into social security. this is the reason you have a surplus. now you have for real people playing. but it is not going to be the same number of people paying and drawing. i am a baby boomer. we paid in for a lot more people because more of us working. another question is, the democrats -- a person brought it up earlier -- the main test of the social security is to take the cap off.
9:09 am
that would solve the problem. wealthy people don't have to pay up to a certain point. there is no reason for no cap. another thing, on medicare -- all you would have to do is means-test medicare. if you have a certain amount of money -- i cannot over three dozen dollars worth of property -- i cannot own over $3,000 with the property. host: means testing for social security and medicare, got it. guest: you are talking, sir, about an ability-to-pay basis, which means that to keep the philosophy that everybody is in the program, but folks with not much income it would -- folks at the top would not get a subsidy. what a means test means something very different than the ability to pay. means test it essentially means that if you make $1, even $1 over the eligibility amount, you
9:10 am
are completely out. that means we are leaving more towards the public assistance or welfare model, and that i have deep reservations about. but i would certainly be interested in digging into proposals that advance the ability to pay standards along the line. host: we are watching the special elections race in the new york district today. what you think it means for medicare? guest: i can only tell you that i think a congressional recess general -- congressional races generally and of local trends. when i was running for senator, people would try to make national projections of what it meant. there is a whole list of issues that go into congressional races. i spent time going to community meetings and oregon, it going to become not trying to dig in to what is going to define a
9:11 am
congressional election in upstate new york. host: here is an e-mail from a frustrated and retired pilot, who says -- guest: i certainly am supportive of legislation that ensures that if somebody has the ability to do the job, the ability to make those kinds of the snap judgments that you have to make as pilots, for example, they ought to have that opportunity. this airline pilot i guess did not come in as a call -- contact our office, because i am in support of what you are trying to do. host: michael emails --
9:12 am
guest: that is an absolutely key question. we think that if you take away the tax breaks for shipping jobs overseas, and use that precise group of dollars to lower rates for people who do business in the united states, that is going to make it much more attractive to keep jobs here. that is what businesses tell us. right now we have the second highest corporate rate in our country. what senator coats and i try to do is increase competitiveness of american companies doing business in this country, adding value here, expanding our exports. there is no tax increase here, sir. no tax increase in our legislation. we're taking the dollar is used
9:13 am
inefficiently now and using them to lower rates to what i call red, white, and blue jobs. host: you announced in december of 2010 that you had been diagnosed with cancer. i'm wondering how your help is. guest: -- your health is. guest: 0, i am doing a great. the only hope was that when i was sworn in for the new term, joe biden gave the twins my script and he refused to give it back. that created something of an international incident. it was finally returned. host: we wish you continued to good health. our topic next is patriot act extensions. the senate voted to move forward with that today. three provisions under this umbrella of extension. what are your thoughts on them and how do you plan to vote on final passage? guest: well, first, i am working very hard with the majority leader and senate leadership on
9:14 am
my own proposal to deal with something that goes to the root of the problem, and that is that intelligence is two fields -- one, operations and methods, the techniques that our intelligence community uses in the field absolutely have to be classified and protected. but the legal interpretations of statutes like the patriot act ought to be public. there should not be secret law. i will be offering my aunt amendment -- my own amendment. i spoke to the majority leader last night. i will be offering my own proposal to wipe out secret law, saying that we protect operations and methods that are essentially for the well-being of our folks in the field,s themselves should not be kept secret. -- but certainly that the laws themselves and should not be kept secret. senator udall is another important amendment to deal with something called business
9:15 am
records. each of these areas is a constitutional teeter totter, sensible ensure protection of all of us and also individual liberty -- steps that will he ensure protection of all those but also individual liberty. host: is that senator mark udall? guest: yes. host: are you in a no vote without these changes? guest: yes. at page redact, which literally has not been formally -- at the patriot act, which literally has not been formally reviewed in a decade, is an attempt to strike that balance between security and the petite. if you continue to keep the interpretations of the law secret, that is going to undermine public confidence, that is going to undermine the opinions that american people have with respect to intelligence, and that is going to hurt our country. host: the senate intelligence chairwoman, dianne feinstein, was on the floor yesterday, and
9:16 am
said that every national security official has come to us and said we need these provisions extended." use it on the intelligence committee. how can you vote no, given that you are included in the behind- closed-door briefing that she and you get? guest: my general sense that in each of these areas is possible to do better. and somebody said, let's just put a statue on automatic pilot, even if in the last 10 years we have seen that it is possible to do a better job, how do you say to the american people, greta, that the patriot act -- a law professor can assign a group of students to write an interpretation of the law, and essentially explain, for purposes of their papers or thesis, what the law means, and yet the federal government is keeping secrets of how interprets the law. that is not right. host: senator ron wyden, thank you for being here. come back again.
9:17 am
guest: ok. host: we will talk about extending the provisions of the patriot act, but first, a news update from c-span radio. >> israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu will have a friendly audience today when he addresses congress. he is expected to outline his vision of peace with the palestinians. it comes days after president obama's speech urging israel to act now to make the peace. benjamin netanyahu's address to the joint meeting of congress will be live starting at 11:00 a.m. eastern time on c-span radio and television. today's special election for the house seat in new york state is considered a tossup, after initially being thought of as a likely republican victory. the election in the rubble and suburban 26 the congressional district between buffalo and rochester has become a referendum on the republican plan to transform medicare. a new college poll shows that the democrat kathy hochul has a
9:18 am
slight lead over republican jane corwin. the tea party candidate, jack davis, had 12% support in the poll, far behind the others, but enough to affect a close race. one of robert gates' on a pass before retiring as defense secretary is to set the pentagon on a budget-cutting course that he spent much of his tenure trying to avoid. gidget de -- he is expected to give details of the approach in a speech today at a washington think tank, expected to be his final speech before he retires. intelligence officials are warning against deep spending cuts by congress. they say the u.s. could end up with the same intelligence failures that led to the september 11 attacks. in the report being released today by the intelligence and national security alliance, it warns that when the u.s. declared a victory and slashed intelligence operations in
9:19 am
africa, that was just as al qaeda was taking root. meanwhile, lawmakers said that while the are keeping the budget just about flat for 2011 and 2012, there is still $80 billion for the third straight year. those are some of the latest headlines on c-span radio. >> c-span's local content vehicles tip of a tour in tampa this weekend with booktv events on c-span2, including interviews with del quentin wilbur, and a look at the book industry with local booksellers. also, the st. petersburg museum of history, and the first scheduled commercial aircraft, and to settle history of and below, where slaves and seminole indians fought two wars against the u.s. in the 1800's. the tour kicks off this weekend. watch it on c-span2 and c-span3.
9:20 am
follow "washington journal" on twitter and joined viewers to get advance notice of tomorrow's guests, high-profile bookings, and links to video highlights. you can add your comments to the conversation. don't miss any updates from "washington journal." start your twitter account to date at >> no one succeed in life by themselves. you must be willing to lean on others, and yes, love others. >> watch 2010 -- watch 2011 commencement speeches on c- span, and search speeches by activists, presidents, and other leaders on the c-span and video library, where you can search, watch, and share every event we have covered for 1987 till today. it is washington your way.
9:21 am
>> "washington journal" continues. host: seth stern is our guest, a legal reporter with "congressional quarterly." the senate voted yesterday to move forward without debate on -- with debate on the three provisions of the patriot act, to extend them for four more years. can you talk specifically about each of them? we can show our viewers as we talk. what would they do? guest: 3 provisions, the two included in the patriot act, the third included in a bitter intelligence. the first one is the roving wiretaps provision, and that allows investigators to request a wiretap for mobile devices rather than having to get a separate warrant for each device. it might be from a different communications company. they can get one and cover
9:22 am
multiple carriers, multiple devices. host: this that allow them to track a suspected terrorist? how did they keep tabs by throwing away cell phones? guest: they don't have to identify the specific device they want, and they don't even have to identify the specific person. they just have to describe some particularity the target, and there is some flexibility for someone who may be purposely try to evade detection. host: what is the controversy with this provision? is there any? guest: there is some concern among civil liberties advocates said that because it is not a fight a particular person, -- it does not identify a particular person, it sweetened not just the target, but other people who might be heard communicating on the device. host: allowing the seizure of any tangible thing like a
9:23 am
business records. guest: this is called the business record provision. any tangible thing might be eight driver's license records, credit card bill, car rental record. the aspect that particularly is controversial is added might include a library circulation record, the books that someone might buy in a bookstore. it raises first amendment concerns and possibility that that would infringe on free expression. host: how has this been used in the past, library circulation records? i thought i heard senator dianne feinstein say on the floor yesterday it said that this does not deal with library circulation. guest: it has it, intelligence officials say, been used for the -- and has not, intelligence officials say, been used for that purpose, but the possibility is there.
9:24 am
it might sweep up other people in the course of an investigation that are not the direct target. host: who is opposed to this provision, and what are they saying? guest: the same groups, civil liberties groups, and ito of the ideological spectrum, -- lawmakers on that end of the ideological spectrum, democrats and republicans, who share the concern on infringing liberties. host: suspects not c connected to any foreign power, the lone wolf provision. guest: this was not included in the original patriot act of 2001. this was in an intelligence overhaul. somewhat might not be affiliated or taking orders -- someone might not be affiliated or taking orders from a foreign power or terrorist organization. they might be inspired, self- radicalized, and there might not
9:25 am
be probable cause that it would be affiliated with a group. it would allow investigation of someone who is essentially acting independently, a lone wolf. host: what are the implications of this provision? guest: this one at the attorney general has indicated has not been used yet. other provisions not use, but certain circumstances and situations, and they say growing as al qaeda and terrorist groups splinter away and people can go on the internet and become self- affiliated or self-identified with a terror group, they say it is an important provision to have. host: this is what national security folks want, all three -- guest: they want all three, and the attorney general, officials in the obama administration, had been quite clear in saying they want all three of these powers, and to extend it as long as possible. host: moving to the debate, the
9:26 am
procedural thing the senate does, they say people saying yes, but then you have people like senator ron wyden, our last best, saying i will not vote yes until there are substantial changes. guest: you see that on both sides of the outcome and the first sunset of the patriot act was in 2001, 45 days after the 9/11 at tak. the surveillance provision, 16 of them were a sunsetted gu there wer. there were short-term extensions in 2006, all but two reauthorized permanently. there is this desire to have oversight, and it is an opportunity to revisit, as senator wyden has suggested. host: does it have the votes to get out of the senate? guest: the indication is that there are enough votes to get out of the senate. this is a compromise that would extend it until 2015, does not make it permanent.
9:27 am
10 years, some house republicans had made the go. it is a compromise measure, a time frame is similar to hit 26 -- to the 2006 extension. host: eric cantor, majority leader in the house, says that the house will act next week? guest: the senate will act first, and then the house will take it up. host: what happened when this was brought up in the house? guest: the first time was a short-term extension. the required t/l 3 majority, they did not have it, and it was at -- of required 8 2/3 majority, they did not have it, and it was a bit of an embarrassment for the house leadership. there were the votes there under regular procedures for the 90- day -- host: and house republicans, why did they vote no?
9:28 am
guest: this and concerns about civil liberties, infringement. at some of them thought it was being rushed and they did not have hearings yet. some had concerns about the substance of the bill. there is probably a similar number who will vote no again in the republican caucus. host: 4-year extension, not permanent. why? guest: the idea is that by doing sunsets, having them expire, there is an opportunity for oversight. if you just make them permanent, and administration, it is less responsive and there are not congressional hearings. is an opportunity to revisit this when you have the sunset. that is the key way to have oversight of these programs. host: democrat in york, pennsylvania, you are the first caller for seth stern of "congressional quarterly." caller: thank you for taking my call.
9:29 am
i believed an informed decision to make informed increases, and as long as -- informed choices, and as long as the patriot act law does not have to explain what its interpretation of the law is, that is, from what i am experiencing, different states under the real id back to the ability to say -- gives states under the real id act the ability to say -- the system cannot correct the information in real time, and the person must confirm that it is part, thereby committing a third degree misdemeanor. my question is -- also, the state constitution says it is not a violation of the fifth
9:30 am
amendment. host: ok, what is your question? caller: the patriot act does not explain the interpretation of the law, creating an ambiguity when none exists, or individuals are made criminals by complying with the real id act and have no recourse when it goes back to congress, and that is congress. guest: the relation to the real t is not an issue with the legislation, but the broader point about secrecy, and senator wyden talked about that -- this goes to a secret court, known as the fisa court, made up of federal judges to consider the application. it is a very opaque process, and
9:31 am
beyond statistics released each year to give a sense of the volume of the cases they are involved in. there is very little access to what is going on inside the court. host: do we know who these judges are who sit on the court? guest: yes, 11 federal judges appointed for a seven-year term. you know the identity of the judges at least, but you don't know what they are doing, basically. host: how does it work? it is the burden of proof on the government? guest: it is largely on the government to prove probable cause, whenever the standard of proof is. some of the standards of the patriot act made it easier for the government to obtain information that it would have been previously. host: what is the government seeking when they go to these fisa pcourts. guest: in the case of a roving
9:32 am
wiretaps, it would be a warrant, it warrant to do a search and a warrant to take that to the telecommunications caviar, to say that we have this war and we want to track -- this war and we want to track a guy. -- this warrant and we want to track a guy. host: all their time limits on these warrants? guest: depending on the application we're talking about. the fisa court predates the patriot act, the 19/11 attacks. it was a product of the 1970's and the desire to have more oversight over the intelligence apparatus. it is a mechanism for oversight, just not one that the public as much exposure to or any exposure to what it is doing. host: palm beach county, florida, republican line. caller: my question is in regards to out what other things
9:33 am
beyond it the intention of the warrants or whenever is discovered, what would be the outcome? my two examples would be the first example would be if someone had a wiretap on a cell phone or a series of the cell phones, and someone realized that the person who other than the persons who were being investigated, criminal activity was discovered. the other example is, what if, in a series of all these wiretaps, they realize that there has already been a wiretap, and that other nations are spying on americans, like israel and all kinds of people in europe and england -- host: ok.
9:34 am
is that stern. -- seth stern. guest: there is a demarcation between using it for criminal and intelligence purposes. guest: i assume that is referring to the supreme court. i am not sure. what i think now is in relation to the business records request. whoever receives the request for information could be under a gag order, essentially, i cannot say that they have received this request to hand over this information. it is a subject of litigation, and that they are able to challenge that and hire a lawyer and tried to challenge that gag order. host: independent in north carolina. caller: is into the patriot act
9:35 am
a way of -- isn't the patriot act a way of doing away with the constitution? host: why do you think that? caller: because in the united states, we are all citizens. host: ok, let's talk about constitutionality, because there are those who argue that this goes against the constitution. guest: short, there are real deep concerns about the impact this has on civil liberties. -- sure, there are real deep concerns about the impact this has on a civil liberties, and that is why you see the opposition in both parties. you see a republican like rand paul kentucky -- rand paul of kentucky coming together with patrick leahy, chairman of the judiciary committee, over concerns about how this impacts civil liberties. web: the headline on cq's
9:36 am
site. what is this bill and it is unlikely to pass? -- isn't likely to pass? guest: senator paul s. 6, 7, 8 amendments. let a man and incorporates -- amendment -- the patrick leahy men and incorporates -- patrick leahy amendment incorporates amendments he had. it is one of real concern for lawmakers. host: let's listen to what senator granholm had to say about the constitutionality -- provisions -- what senator rand paul had to say about the constitutionality of these provisions. >> the fourth man that says you need to have probable cause.
9:37 am
-- we have taken a -- the fourth amendment is as you need to have probable cause. we take that away to say if it is relevant or might be related to that. they recognized it was slow in the standard and was careful. we had secret courts set up, and the fisa courts had to do with national security or intelligence. the name had to be divulged to the judge's. those who argue that you have to have the patriot act or you have to do this or we will not be able to stop terrorism, they need to explain why the fisa court did tens of thousands of the search warrants and never returned any downed tree at the history of the patriot act was no search warrant had ever been turned down. do we really want to give up our liberties in exchange for more security? franklin said that those who give up their liberty in exchange for security may end up
9:38 am
with neither. guest: senator paul is referencing, on the first point, the wire taps, that you don't have to name the individual with the devices you are targeting, and that raises concerns related to the fourth amendment. on each of these provisions, there are concerns about the constitutionality. host: here is an e-mail from a viewer. well, the intelligence agency, the justice department, the fbi, each of them have internal processes. oversees national security letters -- the inspector general in the justice department oversees national security letters, raising concerns about how it would be used. there are those internal mechanisms. the committees of jurisdiction, intelligence committee,
9:39 am
judiciary committee, have oversight. they use the reauthorization process as the opportunity to revisit these provisions. host: riverside, a telephonic, democratic line. good morning, sandra. caller: i have a problem with this. there are things on the web talking about being formed like a red and blue list where people are going to be round up in the future. with these 8000 new security agencies across the country, they believe it and expand what they are for -- they really have not been explained what they are for. there is a was sir blogger lee in the nsa, -- a whistleblower lately in the nsa, and he got sentenced to five years. how do they know this is going to be so secure? guest: i think the caller is raising a broader concern not
9:40 am
necessarily about these provisions, but again, the nature of these intelligence investigations and the need for secrecy, i speak as the broader concerns about how it is being used -- i think it does it feed broader concerns about how it is being used against ordinary americans. host: florida, and john. caller: we have no expectation of privacy on art cell phones, and the same probably goes for our e-mail as well. we have the tsa violating our fourth amendment rights, we have fusion centers around the country gathering information on anyone. we have corrupted judges in indiana judging the people can enter your house without a search warrant. how are we any different than a police state? guest: the concern there, you see in both administrations, the bush administration and now the obama administration, have come
9:41 am
out strongly in favor of these authorizations. it is not one party. there is bipartisan support, at least in the executive branch, for extending these provisions. the intelligence committee chairman, dianne feinstein of telephone, was, for talking about abuses that have happened in the past. the fisa court judges meet in closed session to review classified declarations, and they provide a very careful review of the government's applications. they are expert in this specialized area of the law. as is their expert staff. this department -- the department of justice officials that come before them take all care in making their case and presenting the facts, as they do in public court. the american people should
9:42 am
understand that these fisa it authorities that we are discussing now, the ability to conduct electronic surveillance and obtain records, are subject to strict oversight. has had a concern official in the department of justice, -- as said at concerned official in the department of justice, the attorney general, the deputy attorney general -- one of these three must sign off on every application before it goes to the foreign intelligence surveillance court r. host: can you talk a little bit more about which was talking about? guest: she was making the point that there is oversight in the executive branch, that these applications are considered at the highest level of the justice department. she has been consistent in that she wants to see what is called
9:43 am
a clean reauthorization. she does not want and amendments, additional oversight requirements. she wants peace of christ as they are. -- she wants these authorized as they are. host: baltimore. caller: good morning, greta, mr. stern. i believe the patriot act is in violation of the third, fourth, fifth, and 18th amendment. senator paul outlined it very well. it is nothing more than bullying and harassment. banking accounts, e-mail, phone calls, employment records, and even now, if you go to college, they are probing into your conditions. the problem i have is with the gag at letters at. how do you know if they are going to different people and
9:44 am
saying things about you? you would not have any way of knowing this. i filed a complaint with the fbi concerning foreclosure crimes against washington mutual bank, and i never heard anything from the fbi. i noticed after that, the retaliation started. how do i know that i have not been subjected to civil rights violations by the government? guest: in relation to the patriot act provisions at issue here, in reference to the gag order earlier, that is only in the context of terror investigations. the concerns about mortgage fraud or foreclosure, that would not be the subject -- host: is that related to national security matters? the national security letters is a separate process. they are not reviewed by the fisa court, unlike the roving wiretaps with the business
9:45 am
records requests -- or the business records requests. the national security letters, there is not that same level of outside oversight. they are used in much greater volume with the other provisions being reauthorized dozens of times a year. the nsl letters, the volumes are into the tens of thousands a year. host: house that not part of this debate they are having an -- and the sena -- how is that not part of the debate they are having an and the senate? guest: senator paul would like to make that part of the debate. that is not part of the reauthorization. they would like to have it up for debate, and it would sunset nsl in 2013, so it would be subject to the same oversight and reconsideration. that amendment is unlikely to past. it would throw everything into doubt, and you would need to
9:46 am
have an extension by may 27, by friday, extension expires. -- when the latest 90-day extension expires. host: it would go to 2013. republican in louisiana. caller: how are you this morning? i am totally against the patriot act. i don't trust the government any more. i cannot understand, with all the agencies and the tsa -- it sounds to me like the majority of the colors are also against the patriot act. i agree with the rand paul. i don't know why the government feels a great need to keep us in fear of the time for our safety. i think we are well aware since 9/11 what our surroundings are. it is that the government or police. -- it is not the government or police. it is citizens who caught these
9:47 am
so-called terrorists. i want to know what the government feels the need to keep us in fear. guest: officials for the obama administration, in testifying before the committee on why the provisions are needed, they pointed to in texas recently where someone was arrested for plotting to bomb president bush's hall, amongst other targets. i believe that in that instance they did use the business record, whether it was credit cards or purchased items -- they said that these are needed and are being used and they are required. host: sandusky, ohio, democratic line. caller: ok, i have a comment and, i guess a three-part question. i would like to requote rand paul and benjamin franklin, those who sacrificed liberty for security deserve neither.
9:48 am
i just want to be very sure of this -- a roving wiretaps, is it essentially a phone or email sweep, or is it just to address the switching of a phone numbers and all that stuff? my second question -- i came across this when i was doing research for a school project, the fact that the patriot act has on anti-war or at least anti-afghanistan and iraq occupation protestors. how does the patriot act affect those people? guest: in relation to the first question, my understanding is that it is devices, so it would be different communications devices -- phones. as to the second part, the government's prposition is that these provisions are not being used to target anti-war protesters. host: on the issue of national security at letters, which is not part of the provisions they
9:49 am
are looking at extending, the associated press wrote in may 9 that there is rising fbi use of the nsl's. fbinsl's are signed by the without review by a judge. the story goes on to say that that is a much lower number than immediately after the 9/11 attacks, 2003-2005, the fbi reported using nsl letters 143,000 times requesting customer data from businesses. windsor, connecticut, allen is an independent.
9:50 am
caller: my question is, i wonder how much of this stuff is actually terrorism, " like all of this national security matters and all that. how much is related to drugs or organized crime? host: ok, seth stern. guest: the question of ensign and all people, people far removed from the tear -- he and incidenta people, people far removed from the cover investigation, that was raised in 2007 and 2008, looking at use of these letters earlier in the decade. it played to examples where it was being approved -- pointed to examples where it was being approved and used against peripheral individuals, that the fbi was not doing a good job of tracking how many of these would be issued a more not necessarily following the guidelines for when they should be issued.
9:51 am
host: barbara, michigan, republican line. caller: can you hear me? host: we can hear you, barbara. caller: i would like to ask the gentleman -- the patriot act all stems from 9/11, war on terror, and with each year, i don't know how much they increase it, but in the past year or two, with the department of homeland security coming out with if you see something, say something, the body groping, the scanners, the report that puts all kinds of regular american citizens on these lists to be watched and targeted, and again if you see something, it says something. anybody can call in and say, "i saw my neighbor, blah blah blah ." next thing you know there are a swat teams coming to houses and killing dogs, with kids crying over a couple of joints of
9:52 am
marijuana. it just does not make sense to i justple on tlists -- don't understand it. can you tell me the reason for all of these people having to be watching and worrying and wondering -- host: ok, barbara. seth stern. guest: these are the concerns that are raised, relatively narrow provisions, but the impact of the war on terror on civil liberties. yesterday, you saw senator tester, a democrat on the floor, raising concerns, and then you had senator paul. you see it across parties, people who don't necessarily agree on a lot of issues. it is a coalition across the political spectrum who share those concerns, and the callers who are calling in on both party lines. host: will there be court challenges to these provisions? guest: that it has been 10 years
9:53 am
now of court challenges to some aspects of the patriot act. but there is not an assumption that there is going to be some challenge after the fact, should these be reauthorized. host: jimmy had this comment. holyoke, massachusetts, independent caller. caller: this page 3 act was done by -- this patriot act was done by the industrial complex and multinational companies. we ascending -- we are sending blackwater to saudi arabia, and dealing with people who we say they are our enemies, and we have wall street sitting here stealing from the american people. you're supposed to protect ourselves from foreign and domestic terrorism. what about corporate espionage or corporate terrorism?
9:54 am
basically, if this is what is going on, this is what the government is doing. host: the debate continues today. they voted to proceed to debate yesterday and on, what will you be watching for on the senate floor today? guest: it will be interesting to see on the amendments, will senator paul or leahy introduce their amendments? , the votes might it get? if it were to be adopted, it is would complicate matters? senator feinstein says she expects clean reauthorization to come out of the senate and it would be taken up in the house. host: final vote in the senate? guest: 30 hours of a cloture debate, so it could be as soon as midnight tonight or tomorrow. the house approves consideration of a role in taking up the measure by the same date. by thursday, given that the expiration is the 27 on friday.
9:55 am
host: what are you expecting a house side with the debate? guest: you will see republicans raising concerns and the vote to be narrower than it was for the 90-day extension back in february. there could be more no vo tes, but in all likelihood, it would be cleared and enacted. host: who are the key people you are watching once it moves over to the house? guest: 1 interesting republican, jason chaffetz of utah, was the only republican on the judiciary committee to vote against their reauthorization, for business records and a roving wiretaps for six years and a lone wolf permanent. host: the amendments? do you know when some of -- what are going to be some debate
9:56 am
amendments? guest: on the house side? we don't know -- host: will there be an open rule? guest: they will take up with the senate passes and clear that, so it largely depends on what happens in the senate. host: so by the end of the week, both houses could pass the extensions and the president is expected to sign? guest: they have to pass something. i know that anyone wants this to expire and have it not a -- an effect -- i don't think anyone wants this to expire and have not in effect for some period of time. host: let's take another look at what we are talking about. the senate agreed to move forward it to consider extension of the following provisions -- allow roving wiretaps of suspected terrorists, allow seizure of any tangible things in security investigations like business records, and allows surveillance of non-citizen suspects not connected to any foreign powers, also being referred to as "the lone wolf"
9:57 am
provision. alabama, independent caller. caller: i don't understand why anybody thinks this is not just a little orwellian, especially with these roving wiretaps and the seizure of tangible objects. sounds a little like "1984" to me. i would rather not sacrifice might liberty for security. i will take my chance. host: texas. jack is a republican. your thoughts or questions. caller: more of a comment, and i have heard this comment from any of the callers, the fear that information gathered at a tense -- and attempts to thwart terrorism, information may be gathered relating to some other
9:58 am
criminal activity, whether it is drugs or something else. i think the american public would support the pay to act -- the patriot act, some of the provisions, much more easily if there was a law that would say that these records can only be used to prosecute actual terrorism, not some tangential issue. for them to come and say that this person is involved in using drugs, and that is what supports the tourists, revenue from drugs -- supports terrorists, revenue from drugs -- the american public would be more supportive if it these were targeted and only used to prosecute terrorists. guest: interesting how the patriot act has become the target and simple of all post- 9/11 civil liberties concerns, in part because congress
9:59 am
revisits it because of the sun sets so you have these questions raised periodically. host: jackson, mississippi, you are on the air. caller: yes, ma'am. [unintelligible] host: you know what, we have a terrible time understanding you. i am sorry about that. stephen in indianapolis. can you make it real quick? caller: hello, folks, this is steve from indianapolis. it is funny how both parties support the patriots act. it starts with the patriot act, and the tsa is sticking their andds in babies' diapers searching for poop bombs. we of got to get back to the time of thomas jefferson and individual liberties, otherwise


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on